Monday, December 20, 2010

Today's Output

Got a few things done today!

Megabus concept, toned: PS CS5
First, tone-painted the "Megabus" concept sketch from a few days ago. I did this live on my UStream channel earlier today with a small audience.

Megabus Gray: PS CS5
This is a grayscale version, just done with a Color layer filled with black. I'm not sure whether I like the color or gray one better. I think the gray one looks more "classic concept" than the other one. Either way it works okay.

Bulk Cruiser concepts: PS CS5
These ships I drew last night while UStreaming, some quick ideas for the Bulk Cruiser from the first part of the Stars' End book. It's supposed to be a freighter with some guns bolted on to it, so I wanted a blocky cargo ship vibe. These are okay, not really knocking me out but a fair place to start. Today I put in the grays after playing in Photoshop to make a big fat wide marker brush to imitate my Copic Wides.

Pleasure Cruiser concept: PS CS5
This last one is from one of the tiny little 1-inch sketches; I challenged myself to go from the blown-up rough line sketch to a tighter line and marker render in 30 minutes. It took more like 40, but still pretty decent. There's a form problem in the rendering, which I'll fix later.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Han Solo 3-View, done for now

I've gotten to here:

3-View Env #3: PS CS5
And I've decided to stop at this point, because I'm starting to zoom in on too many details, which means I will start noodling and working on this too much. These aren't supposed to be tight and the whole point is not to put too many hours into them, so I can up my output and get faster.

I think these are at the point where I could show them to an AD and they'd get it, though I think the bottom one is a little rough to show a film director.

Eventually I'm going to go to a full paint on at least the top one and maybe the middle one.

Plenty more cool scenes in the book, but I think for the rest of the night I'll work on some of the vehicles from it, maybe the gladiator droid. Comments & crits welcome as always.

New 3-Environment Progress

Here's where I'm at on the latest 3-view painting. I'm doing scenes from the Star Wars EU book Han Solo at Stars' End by Brian Daley, a book I've always liked:

3-Env #3: PS CS5
Obviously I've put a bit more time into the top one than the other two, but they're reading fairly well so far. The scenes are (top) Han and Chewie meet Rekkon at the barge landing bay, (middle) trying to escape the Data Center building, looking down from the balcony as the Espos set up a large blaster, and (bottom) Bollux tries to survive the Mark X Executioner droid as Han returns to the Stars' End arena dome. I've left the line art in at 50% as they're still pretty rough and undetailed.

I think these are going to turn into much more finished paintings once I'm done with them as quickpaints, but I'll put a couple more hours in to get them all to a reasonable state before I move on to more 3-views.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Learnin' Some 3D

Since my "draw brain" failed utterly to function yesterday, I decided to put some time into learning more 3D modeling. I can't afford Maya or 3DSMax at the moment so I'm using Blender, which is free! I did a few tutorials from the Blender site, but then I built this jet plane model from scratch, no tracing:
Jet Airliner: Blender 3D Model
Kind of like an MD-80. I think it came out pretty well, though I wouldn't call it optimized for use in a game. I know AD Damon wouldn't be impressed to know it's about 4700 polys (tris, not quads, I remember hahaha... it's 2346 faces, 2217 vertices). They'd throw it back and tell me to make it in 1500! Should be possible, I used 32-sided cylinders, can probably go to 16 for the body and 12 for the engines which would cut the polys by more than half.

I'm not worrying too much about textures right now, need to get comfortable with modeling first.

Anyway, just trying to keep up with the times and make myself more valuable as an artist. Concept people who do 3D are fairly rare, though that's changing.

Now why is there Steve Miller singing in my head...?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Improvement, yay

Here's today's 3-up environments:
3-Env 02: PS CS5
Better. I think these work a lot better. Still taking too long - about 5 hours - but I'll get faster as I get more confident. Here's what they looked like at 2.5 hours:
3-Env 02 still rough
I decided that in the top one, the light coming down on the spaceship didn't fit with the wedge-shaped docking bay entry - it wouldn't hit at that angle, the ship appears much closer to us. So I changed it to a round hatch directly above, which seems to make a little more sense.

I also thought the shapes in the underwater base buildings were boring so I repainted them. The new shapes are probably cheez but they feel better overall. Looking at that one I think I'll want to brighten up the light coming from the sea cave some, the image is pretty dim.

And keeping with yesterday's pattern I tried to bang out another vehicle sketch in an hour. Couldn't get it past line art in that time but it's pretty decent:

Megabus LA 2020: PS CS5
I'll do the quickshade on this tomorrow after the next 3-up painting I guess. Much less frustrated today, which is a good thing. Maybe I'll actually sleep well for a change.

Illustration, Iteration, Frustration

Here's a couple spaceships from this evening:
Sport Cruiser spaceships: Photoshop CS5
I'm trying to do anything and everything I can, within the limited working time I have now, to increase my output, learn new techniques and get better at painting. Been watching Feng's videos - I went through all of them, actually, over the last week - so I'm returning to following his lead and working on stuff that shows a high level of professionalism.

So after watching Feng's latest Design Cinema, I thought I'd try his suggestion of doing 3 environment paintings in the same file simultaneously, and started this:
3 environments, same file: PS CS5
I managed to get to this point in about 2.5 hours, but I've stalled out. For some reason my brain is not letting me figure out how to take these further... which is very frustrating. I'm using pretty simple forms in all of them because I want to do the technique without having to do too much design work, I want to concentrate on value, lighting, mood, atmosphere and composition instead.

They're all at about the same level of completion, but I think the middle one reads and works best. I feel like the background looks especially good on it, I did use some photo for the clouds but everything else is painted, I only laid in the clouds as a desaturated overlay onto the sky colors. The top one's okay, but the bottom one is falling apart for me. There's some simple perspective things that need fixing, which won't take long, but the whole thing just isn't working for me.

So I hit a wall. The next step is to just keep going with details, but for some reason my brain doesn't want to paint detail at a "mid" level, it wants to zoom all the way in and do really tight stuff. I have to not do that, and it's actually really difficult trying to find that middle ground. More practice I guess.

Once I realized I was getting really upset and not progressing, I said screw it and did something I know I can do, zapped out a couple of spaceships. That only took an hour! At least I can do that no problem.

I really do need to get the production painting thing down, though, or I'm not going to get the kind of work I really want to do. I guess I'll start another 3-shot tomorrow and see if I can improve.